Recipe: Lemon Sugar Cookies

Written by Gina Chong in the July 2020 Issue

Lemon Cookies

I love the impact of colorful sugar cookies. They are so fun and festive. The secret is to not overbake them. Happy decorating, and happy 4th of July!

Cookies

Makes about 48 three-inch cookies

• 1 c butter, softened
• 2 c granulated sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp lemon extract

Royal Icing:

• 5 Tbsp meringue powder*
• 2/3 c fresh lemon juice
(2-3 lemons)**
• 1 tsp cream of tartar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• zest of 2 lemons
• powdered sugar for dusting
• 2 lbs powdered sugar, sifted
• food coloring gel
• extra lemon juice
• sprinkles (opt.) 

Directions:

Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and lemon extract. Combine. Beat in baking powder and salt. Add lemon zest. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour and mix until the dough starts to pull away from sides of the bowl. Dough should be pliable like soft clay. Divide into 2-3 parts, form each into disc shapes and wrap in plastic wrap. Let chill in fridge at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F and fit two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Dust a clean surface with powdered sugar. Take one disc and flatten with a rolling pin. Continuously dust surface, dough, and rolling pin to avoid sticking. Roll out dough to 1/4- 1/3 inch thick. Cut out shapes and place on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are just beginning to golden. Do not overbake! Let cool a few minutes on the pan, then once hard enough, place on cooling rack. Shape leftover dough into a disc again, wrap in the plastic wrap, and chill while working on next dough disc. Cycle through all dough until done. Cool cookies completely. 

For the royal icing:

Combine lemon juice and meringue powder in a clean stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk on medium to combine, then add cream of tartar. Add powdered sugar. Beat on low for 10 min, scraping bowl sides as needed. Icing should smoothe out in 10 seconds when you run your spatula through it (less is too thin, more is too thick). If too thick, add lemon juice, a little at a time. Once you get the right consistency, separate icing into different bowls to add food coloring. Cover any icing you’re not using with a damp towel to prevent crusting. Fill pastry bags fitted with tips to decorate. For basic flooding, use a #2 or #3 tip. For details, use a #1. Keep your tips from crusting over when not in use by resting bags in tall glasses filled with 1cm of water. Wipe off water before reusing.

*I have found meringue powder in the baking sections of craft stores and supermarkets.

**I used the juice from the 2 zested lemons for the cookies, then filled in the rest with bottled lemon juice. 

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